Make Sleep a Priority

Amerian culture does not value sleep.

Sleep is an important part of a healthful lifestyle. While you are sleeping, your immune system works to repair damage and clean up cellular messes in the organs. The nervous system mends while memories are being formed during dream time.

Research has shown that inadequate sleep puts you at risk for diabetes (and it’s complications), obesity, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Some studies have found that even one night of poor sleep (less than 6 hours of sleep) increases insulin resistance.

Poor sleep can increase levels of your appetite-stimulating hormone (ghrelin), stimulate the production of your stress hormone (cortisol) and decrease glucose tolerance. It is optimal to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. 

Tips to Improve Sleep:

  • Quiet time: Spend a half-hour with meditation, prayer, relaxing music or other quiet time prior to bedtime. 
  • Routine: Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day (even the weekends).
  • Self-talk: Tell yourself, “I’ve done all I can for today. I will do the rest another day. Now it’s time to sleep.”
  • Sunshine: Sunshine promotes sleep by causing the body to produce melatonin (which helps the body with sleep).
  • Activity: Get in some physical movement during the day, so your body will be tired when it’s time to sleep.
  • Environment: Set up an environment conducive for sleep – have a comfortable bed, dark room comfortable temperature and quiet. 

Things to Avoid at Night: 

  • Vigorous exercise: Vigorous exercise revs you up. It can be good for the daytime, so you are bedtime. Stretching or yoga work better at night.
  • Intake: Avoid a large meal before bedtime, which can cause heartburn. Avoid drinking a large amount of liquid before bedtime, which can wake you up during the night to urinate.
  • Alcohol/Caffeine/Nicotine: Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants. Alcohol keeps your body in a light stage of sleep and prevents deep sleep required for healing.
  • Technology: Technology will stimulate your brain and can make it difficult to fall asleep.

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Meditation and Nutrition

Meditation could have a positive impact on stress, anxiety, mindless eating, reckless food choices, weight loss, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

The ancient practice of meditation involves residing in a deep state of concentration uninterrupted by thoughts. Research shows meditation has the ability to clear, calm, and focus the mind with benefits such as moderating stress response, lowering glucose levels, decreasing blood pressure, and other issues associated with cardiovascular disease. It has also been shown to increase mindfulness for weight management and eating disorders. 

The role of a dietitian includes exploring a patient’s lifestyle as it relates to their relationship with food. What you eat can strongly be influenced by emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise). It’s no surprise that food and emotion are interconnected. 

Starting off, meditation sounds challenging and downright impossible. 

Psychology Today recommends starting small with 3-5 minutes (or less). Beginners may find it strange to sit in silence with their innermost thoughts and feelings, and do nothing. Meditation does require some practice. Your mind will wander, try to maintain focus by slowing down and focusing in 60 seconds intervals. Try to focus on your breaths out or a single image. Meditation can take many forms such as mindfulness, visualization, walking meditation, or focused awareness. 

Reading, attending classes, listening to podcasts and apps can provide lots of information and guidance on mediation. Our patients have found apps like Headspace, Calm, Insight Timer to be helpful. Some informative podcasts about meditation include The Overwhelmed Brain, Meditation Minis, The Daily Mediation Podcast, and Meditation Oasis.

The value of meditation is not dependent on how much you do or how committed you are. The value of meditation is measured by how you are able to positivity impact your quality of life.

CB

5 Safe Ways to Detox this Summer

Detoxing was once only known as a medical procedure to rid the body of dangerous, often life-threatening, levels of alcohol, drugs, or poisons.

Over the years, this term has been touted as a way to rid the body from toxins that cause symptoms from headaches to joint pain to depression.

The truth is, a detox lacks essential nutrients, such as proteins and fatty acids to keep our body healthy. In a healthy body, the skin, kidneys, lymphatic system, gastrointestinal system, and most importantly, the liver make up an astoundingly complex and sophisticated detoxification system.

Our lungs detoxify by removing gases, skin provides a barrier to protect us from outside substances, the colon detoxifies by eliminating waste from our bodies, kidneys filter toxins out of the blood into the urine and the liver detoxifies by filtering blood as well as secreting bile for digestion.

Here are 5 Safe Ways to Detox this Summer

1) Cut Back on Alcohol

In 2018, researchers found that 40 percent of American adults consume excessive amounts of alcohol. Ethanol has been identified as a known carcinogenic and can increase the risk of cancers in the mouth, liver, and breast.

Depending on who you are, drinking alcohol, moderately and responsibly, can lower cardiovascular risk

2) Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide dietary fiber to help maintain bowel regularity. Fiber is even found in nuts, seeds, and whole grains. A variety of these foods support the body’s natural detoxification.

3) Unplug

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the instant gratification literally at our fingertips. We have the ability to order items and have them delivered within hours. We mindlessly scrolling through feeds without realizing how much time has passed. You CAN detox simply by putting down the phone and connecting with the people around you. Unplug for an hour or even an entire day, if you can. 

4) Move Your Body 

You don’t need to pick up a rigorous plan. Ride your bike, walk in the park, go for a swim. In reality, the best physical activity is one you enjoy, but also the one you can easily fit into your daily schedule.

5) Get your ZZZ

Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight gain in adults and children. Children as young as 4 years old can have adverse effects from lack of sleep. A 2013 study published in Science, showed that during sleep the glymphatic system lets fluid flow rapidly through the brain. The glymphatic system helps control the flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a clear liquid surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The glymphatic acts as a “flushing system” to remove toxins, which appears to be the most active during hours of sleep.

 

If you have questions about how you can better support your body’s detoxification, contact our dietitians at Banister Nutrition. We can provide personalized nutrition counseling to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

 

Xie et al “Sleep initiated fluid flux drives metabolite clearance from the adult brain.” Science, October 18, 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1241224

Slice of Life- Folate and Pregnancy

citrus-slices-on-tray

We often associate citrus fruits with vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in the growth and repair of body tissue. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and repair and maintain healthy bones, teeth, skin, and cartilage.

Let’s talk about folate!

Folate is also known as folic acid and is vital during pregnancy. Folate helps to reduce the risk of spine and brain deformities (known as neural tube defects).

Citrus fruits also provide a rich source of folate. Pregnant women need 600 mcg of folate each day, and breastfeeding women need 500 mcg per day. An average orange contains about 30 mcg of folate and an 8-ounce serving of 100% orange juice provides 15% of the recommended Daily Value for folate, due to fortification.

Some other foods rich in folate include beans, avocados, and spinach and fortified foods such as grains.

If you are considering getting pregnant, our dietitians at Banister can talk to you about a folate-rich diet during preconception for the optimal spine and brain development.

KD

Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 1998:150- 188.

Tips To Sustain Healthy Habits

A structural change to your eating habits can be a positive impact on your health. Here are a few tips on changing the way you eat at work and home, where the struggle is daily.

WORK:

  • Make sure you get up from your desk frequently.
  • Take your breaks.
  • Avoid eating at your desk or in your office at all costs. Eating in front of a screen takes away from the pleasure of eating, which means you end up eating more to feel satisfied.
  • Pack a healthy lunch and snacks if necessary.

HOME:

  • Serve salad and vegetables first with meals.
  • Pre-plate meals and serve from the stove or counter as opposed to leaving food on the table.
  • Sit at the table, turn the TV off and be present during the meal.
  • If drinking sweetened beverages (pop, juice or sports drinks), choose a container that holds fewer than 24 ounces.
  • Ensure bulk foods (think chips) are in individual serving bags.
  • Put pre-cut fruits and vegetables within easy reach on the middle refrigerator shelf.
  • Place a bowl of fruit on the dining room table.

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